Allahabad High Court Recognizes U.P. Forest Corporation as an ‘Industry’ under Industrial Disputes Act

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LI Network

Published on: January 20, 2024 at 21:28 IST

In a recent development, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has ruled that the Uttar Pradesh Forest Corporation falls under the definition of an “industry” as per the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

The Court emphasized that individuals employed as ‘mali’ involved in organized activities related to forests cannot be considered casual employees.

Justice Alok Mathur, part of the bench overseeing the case, stated, “Considering the nature of the work and the systematic activities performed by the ‘mali’ workers in plantation and distribution of forest produce over a continuous period of four years, they cannot be deemed as daily or casual employees engaged only intermittently.”

Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisheries Department v. Charan Singh, the court upheld the classification of the U.P. Forest Corporation as an industry.

Background of the Case

The case originated from a dispute raised by employees of the Biswan Range of the Sitapur Forest Department, who claimed to be working on daily wages. Despite some casual employees in the division being made permanent, 15 workers were not granted permanent status, leading to an industrial dispute referred to the Industrial Tribunal.

The petitioner, Prabhagiya Nideshak Van, argued that the Forest Department did not qualify as an industry under the Industrial Disputes Act. However, the Tribunal disagreed, asserting that the petitioner fell within the definition of an industry and proceeded to grant benefits to the workers.

High Court’s Decision

The High Court, relying on its previous judgment in State of U.P. Forest Department v. Presiding Officer, Industrial Tribunal, U.P., Lucknow, affirmed that entities like the U.P. Forest Corporation can be classified as industries under the Industrial Disputes Act. Additionally, the court dismissed the petitioner’s argument that state government departments involved in sovereign functions cannot be designated as industries.

In conclusion, the writ petition challenging the Tribunal’s award was rejected, establishing the U.P. Forest Corporation’s status as an industry and recognizing the ‘mali’ workers’ entitlement to benefits.

Case Title: Prabhagiya Nideshak Van v. Van.Evam Sangik Vanki Karmachari [WRIT – C No. – 1005250 of 1990]

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